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Gas prices won't be hiked right now, BERC returns proposals

Published : Wednesday, 19 January, 2022 at 9:29 PM  Count : 614

Gas prices won't be hiked right now, BERC returns proposals

Gas prices won't be hiked right now, BERC returns proposals

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) did not accept the proposals made by different distribution companies for gas price hike--both for household and commercial users.

BERC's member (Gas) Makbul-E-Elahi Chowdhury confirmed the media about it on Wednesday evening in the wake of worry among people over the proposals made by the distribution companies.

Last week, several distribution companies proposed the BERC to raise gas price as much as 117 per cent following the government's directive to cope with subsidies.

Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited, Bakhrabad Gas Transmission and Distribution System Ltd submitted separate proposals to the BERC last week seeking an increase in gas price. Although the proposals were separate, the companies proposed to increase the gas price at a uniform rate.

The companies proposed to raise household gas price from the existing Tk 975 to Tk 2,100 for double burners and from the existing Tk 925 to Tk 2,000 for a single burner, while the price of each cubic meter of gas from the existing Tk 12.60 to Tk 27.37 for the burners having pre-paid meters.

Besides, the tariff for CNG used in transports proposed to raise from Tk 35 to Tk 76.04, and from Tk 23 to Tk 49.97 per cubic meter for hotels and restaurants.

Besides, the price of gas used for generation of electricity and production of fertilisers has been proposed to raise from the existing Tk 4.45 to Tk 9.66 for per cubic meter; from the existing Tk 10.70 to Tk 23.24 for per cubic meter of gas used in industrial sector; from the existing Tk 13.85 to Tk 30 for per cubic meter of gas used in captive power generation in industries and factories; from the existing Tk 35 to Tk 76.48 for each cubic meter of gas used in transports.

The gas prices for small and cottage industries have been proposed from Tk 17.04 to Tk 37.02, and from Tk 10.7 to Tk 23.24 for tea gardens, officials said.

The country's people have become very worried at the fresh proposals of gas price hike following widespread protests over transport fare increase issue in the wake of diesel price hike by Tk 15 per liter in November last year.

They think that gas price hike will lead to power, fertiliser and CNG-run transport fare hike which will subsequently increase their expenses, making lives very difficult.  

The BERC, however, directed the gas distribution companies to submit their proposals again citing that the submissions were not in accordance with rules. Petrobangla has also asked other companies to submit their proposals in this connection. The proposals will be placed in a day or two, sources said.

A round of hearing on the price hike is likely to be held before the BERC next month, it is also learnt.

The last gas tariff was announced in July 2019, when the BERC increased the bulk gas price by 32.8% to Tk 9.80 per cubic feet from Tk 7.38.

Opposing the gas price hike move, Professor M Shamsul Alam, Energy Adviser to Consumers Association of Bangladesh, said the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the living cost of most of the people on one hand and reduced income on the other.

"The recent hike in diesel and kerosene prices has led to inflation. In such a situation an increase in gas prices won't be the right decision. Its economic consequences will be terrible," he said.

"If the price of gas is increased, electricity and other commodity prices will go up automatically. It will have a very negative impact on the overall economy of the country," he said.

Prof Shamsul Alam suggested rationing of gas supply in an effort to reduce subsidies.


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